What Is A Comma Delimited (CSV) File?

Before we get into the business of importing a comma delimited file into our Access database I want to answer the question: what is a CSV file?

CSV files are actually quite popular as most programs have the option of exporting data in a CSV format.

Access makes it very easy to import comma delimited files and once we understand a CSV file we can make good progress populating our Access database.

What Is A Comma Delimited (CSV) File?

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A comma delimited text file contains a tables records and each field is separated by a comma. A comma delimited file is a specific type of delimited file – there are other types of delimited files: TAB characters and semi colons are the most common but any characters could in theory be used to separate fields.

Comma delimited files are often saved with the CSV extension and are most commonly created by PC applications, such as QuickBooks, and internet downloads from financial sites such as Yahoo and online banking.

The benefit of a comma delimited file is that it’s very easy to work with and the downside is that commas or delimiters in the field text can corrupt the file (more on that later).

A Sample Comma Delimited (CSV) File

This is an example of a Comma Deliminted (CSV) file.

Notice that all the fields are seperated by commas which allows for efficent storage of the variable length fields such as the product name.

Also notice that the text fields begin and end with quotes.

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